As a New Yorker, many will agree the heart of the city is central park. An iconic landmark that defies the visuals as its green, lush trees clash against the metropolitan skyline. Many people come around the world to visit this one of a kind park, as well as locals who might want to take a gander at its scenery or jog across the path. How did this park come about? Let’s take a look.
The park, which is located between the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, is the first urban landscape park in the United States. However, before its inception, the land consisted mostly of unregulated swamps and shanties owned by destitute Irish pig farmers and German gardeners.
The park was established in 1857 on 778 acres of land, after The Central Park Commission held a landscape design contest, which Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won with their “Greenwood Plan.”
The building project was extensive and one of the biggest undertakings in New York City history. Over 20,000 workers, most of whom were Irish, German, or from New England, worked hard to drain the swamp and reshape landscapes. The workers displaced almost 3 million cubic yards of soil and planted more than 270,000 trees and plant life.
Finally, after 3 years of arduous construction, Central Park officially opened to the public in 1859. The citizens of New York attended in droves, gazing at its natural splendor and partaking in its many recreational activities, such as skating on lakes constructed on the site of former swamps. Millions of New Yorkers and tourists alike started coming each year, and in 1962 the park was named a national historic landmark. Today, Central Park is the central hub of the city and a beautiful place to visit on any day.